Meridian Star


January 16, 2011

From horoscope to horrorscope

MERIDIAN — Last week a story broke about astronomer Parke Kunkle's claim that all our astrological signs are out of whack.

    "This is not something that happened today. This has gone on for thousands of years," said Kunkle, who is a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society.

    His logic was that the Earth's equatorial alignment has changed since 3,000 years ago when the study of astrology began and the 12 zodiac signs were developed.

    Throw a 13th zodiac sign in the mix, called "Ophiuchus" (a guy holding a snake), and no one is any longer who they seem to be.

    I always thought I was in tune with my Libra sign: Mostly compatible with Leos, Geminis, and Aquarians — diplomatic and urbane, romantic and charming, easygoing and sociable, idealistic and peaceable. Also a little indecisive, gullible, flirtatious and self-indulgent.

    All of that apparently was a lie. I must have been reacting to the power of suggestion. According to Kunkle I'm a Virgo: Most compatible with Capricorns and Taurses — modest and shy, meticulous and reliable, practical, diligent, intelligent and analytical. Also a fussy worrier, overcritical, a perfectionist and (gag) conservative.

    I'm not sure who is compatible with all the Ophiuchans out there. The new sign was popped in the zodiac lineup between Scorpio and Sagittarius. Maybe it's a little too early to figure out what these people are really like. The International Business Times listed some brief personality traits of the Ophiuchan as one who progresses well throughout life, a great architect or builder, and a person with flamboyant dressing sense favoring bright colors.

    Many other astrologers have come forward to debunk Kunkle's claims, however.

    Rob Brezny, an astrologer who runs Free Will Astrology, advises everyone to ignore Kunkle. He says our zodiac is not wrong.

    "Western astrologers don't work with stars or constellations. Their focus is our solar system. They study the patterns of the planets and the moon as they pass through 12 zones defined by the relationship between the Earth and sun. Those zones have the same names as constellations because of a historical quirk, but they are unrelated to the constellations," Brezny was quoted as saying in another International Business Times article.

    I'm glad Rob cleared that up for us.

    As it turns out there's the tropical zodiac that most Western astrologers use, and then there's the sidereal zodiac that Vedic astrologers use. Apparently it was real silly of Kunkle to mix this up according to other astrologers, including Eric Francis, a New York-based astrologer and scholar who said if Kunkle doesn't know the difference between the tropical and vedic zodiacs, "it's like a race car driver not understanding the concept of a tire."

    If I were indeed a Virgo maybe I would understand all this, since intelligence is one of their traits. I don't get any of it, so I probably really am a Libra.

    Anyway, it looks like the worries this zodiac shakeup ignited may not matter at all. So what if some personalities changed for a day or two because of Kunkle's interview. Hopefully no relationships disintegrated, and no one ran out and changed their tattoo, and those who live by the sign can go back to being their old selves again this week.

    Steve Gillespie is managing editor of

The Meridian Star. E-mail him at

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